Iran's Coronavirus Death Toll Rises to 3,136, Health Ministry Official Says

'We have 3,956 infected people in critical condition ... There was 2,875 new cases of infected people in the past 24 hours'

Reuters
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A handout picture provided by the office of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei hows him in a tree-planting ceremony in Tehran, March 3, 2020.
A handout picture provided by the office of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei hows him in a tree-planting ceremony in Tehran, March 3, 2020. Credit: AFP
Reuters

Iran's death toll from the coronavirus has reached 3,136, with 124 deaths in the past 24 hours, Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur told state TV on Thursday, adding that the country had 50,468 cases of infection.

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"We have 3,956 infected people in critical condition ... There was 2,875 new cases of infected people in the past 24 hours... 16,711 people have recovered from the disease," Jahanpur said.

U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held out the possibility on Tuesday that the United States may consider easing sanctions on Iran and other nations to help fight the coronavirus epidemic but gave no concrete sign it plans to do so.

The comments reflected a shift in tone by the U.S. State Department, which has come under withering criticism for its hard line toward sanctions relief even in the face of a call by the U.N. secretary-general to ease U.S. economic penalties.

Speaking to reporters, Pompeo stressed that humanitarian and medical supplies are exempt from sanctions Washington reimposed on Tehran after President Donald Trump abandoned Iran's 2015 multilateral deal to limit its nuclear program.

However, broader U.S. sanctions deter many firms from humanitarian trade with Iran, one of the nations hardest hit by the coronavirus epidemic.

Asked if there might come a point at which the United States might reevaluate its stance on easing sanctions, Pompeo told a news conference: "we evaluate all of our policies constantly, so the answer is - would we ever rethink? - Of course."

Asked about such relief on March 20, Pompeo simply said U.S. sanctions do not apply to medical and other humanitarian goods.

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